Mary Kelly (c.1758–1820)

Mary Kelly was a First Fleet convict who became one of St. John’s First Fleeters. Convicted at the Old Bailey under multiple aliases, she was finally sentenced there to be transported for seven years per the Lady Penrhyn (1788). Mary is closely associated with the early history of the Sydney suburb Kellyville. Before her marriage to Hugh Kelly, Mary married fellow St. John’s First Fleeter Humphrey Evans and, though he came to the colony as a free man and she came here as a convict, she lies in a marked grave while the location of his burial plot in the cemetery is unknown.


Names

  • Alias: Sophia Owen (confirmed alias in an earlier London-based crime) see link and link
  • Alias: Frances Owen (confirmed alias in an earlier London-based crime) see link
  • Colloquial: “Polly” (‘Polly’ is a colloquial name for ‘mistress’ or ‘prostitute.’ ‘Molly’ is a male, effeminate, homosexual prostitute, hence the associated early 18th-century to late 19th-century term ‘Molly Houses.’
  • Alias: Mary Dykes | Mary Dicks | Mary Dix
  • Married name: Mary Evans
  • Married name: Mary Kelly
  • Alternate: Margaret Kelly

Timeline

  • Born: c.1758
  • Allegedly stole two guineas from Thomas King: 11 October 1774
  • Tried and acquitted for theft (grand larceny): Old Bailey, 19 October 1774 (as Sophia Owen)
  • Appears in “Bridewell House of Correction Prisoners,” on the Oath of Hannah Snail & Robt. Froller for being an Idle disorderly Person & a suspected Pilferer: 25 November 1779
  • Stole a pair of linen sheets and child’s linen frock from William Tugwell: Stone-cutter-street, Fleet-market, 23 June 1780
  • Tried and convicted for theft of theft (grand larceny) for the sheets and child’s linen frock: Old Bailey, 28 June 1780
  • Sentenced to 6 months imprisonment and hard labour: Old Bailey, 28 June 1780
  • Arrested for theft of a pewter pint pot, value 10 d. (ten pence) and a pewter half-pint pot, value 6 d. (sixpence) from innkeeper John Dawson: White Horse Inn, Friday-street, London, 17 April 1782.
  • Imprisoned: Newgate, April 1782 as “Mary or Frances Owen or Dicks”
  • Tried and convicted of theft (grand larceny): Old Bailey, 15 May 1782
  • Sentenced to be privately whipped, imprisoned, and kept to hard labour for 3 months: House of Correction, Clerkenwell, London, England: 15 May 1782
  • Stole two cloth coats, value 2 s., one linen shirt, value 1 s., and one pewter quart pot, value 6 d. from John Gorman,: 31 July 1782
  • Stole two quart pewter pots, of the value of two shillings, and one pint pewter pot, value 8 d. (8 pence) the goods of innkeeper Henry Wells: The Tobit’s Dog, St. Paul’s Church-yard, London, 22 August 1782
  • Imprisoned: Newgate Prison, 1782
  • Tried and convicted of theft (grand larceny) committed on 22 August: Old Bailey, 11 September 1782 (as Frances Owen alias Sophia Owen)
  • Sentenced to be privately whipped and discharged: Old Bailey, 11 September 1782
  • Tried and convicted of theft (grand larceny) committed on 31 July: Old Bailey, 11 September 1782 (as Sophia Owen)
  • Sentenced to be privately whipped and six months imprisonment with hard labour in the House of Correction, Clerkenwell: Old Bailey, 11 September 1782
  • Recorded to be privately whipped and imprisoned for 3 months at Newgate Prison: 16 October 1782
  • Recorded to be privately whipped and imprisoned for 6 months: 16 October 1782
  • Stole an iron poker, property of Robert Jones: London, England, 14 January 1783
  • Tried and acquitted for theft (grand larceny) re: iron poker as prosecutor did not appear: Old Bailey, 26 February 1783
  • Stole one cotton gown, value 5 s.: London, 12 May 1783
  • Imprisoned: Newgate, 1783
  • Tried and convicted of theft (grand larceny) for the cotton gown: Old Bailey, 4 June 1783
  • Sentenced to be publicly whipped and confined to hard labour six months in the House of Correction, Clerkenwell: Old Bailey, 4 June 1783
  • Appeared in “Vagrants removed from Middlesex”: 15 April 1784
  • Tried and convicted of theft (grand larceny): Old Bailey, 26 April 1786
  • Sentenced to seven years transportation: Old Bailey, 26 April 1786
  • Imprisoned: Newgate Prison, >26 April 1786 – 6 January 1787
  • Embarked on the Lady Penrhyn (1788): 6 January 1787
  • Sailed with the First Fleet per Lady Penrhyn: 13 May 1787
  • Arrived at Botany Bay per Lady Penrhyn: 20 January 1788
  • Arrived at Sydney Cove per Lady Penrhyn: 26 January 1788
  • Married fellow First Fleeter Humphrey Evans: St. Phillip’s, Sydney, 12 April 1793
  • Returned to England with husband Humphrey Evans: 1797
  • Sailed for the colony of New South Wales with Humphrey Evans per Rolla4 November 1802
  • Arrived at Port Jackson per Rolla: 12 May 1803
  • Husband Humphrey Evans dies: 2 August 1805
  • Married her convict servant Hugh Kelly: St. John’s, Parramatta, 14 August 1808
  • Died: 10 November 1820
  • Buried: 11 November 1820 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta

Burial Location

  • Section 1, Row L, No.4 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta

Relationships

  • Spouse of Humphrey Evans (12 April 1793–1 August 1805)
  • Spouse of Hugh Kelly (14 August 1808–10 November 1820)

Occupations

  • Stay maker (c.f. Surgeon Arthur Bowes Smyth’s journal)
  • Settler’s wife
  • Inn-keeper’s wife

Positions

  • Convict, Newgate Prison (> 26 April 1786–6 January 1787)
  • Convict, Lady Penrhyn (6 January 1787–26 January 1788)

Related Content

Mary Kelly: The First Lady of Kellyville (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Abstract: We tune into Mary Kelly’s life story not at the very beginning but on the night of 11 April 1786 in London’s infamous ‘Rosemary Lane’ neighbourhood. There, the jingly-jangly sound of loose coins saw her convicted of grand larceny and transported for seven years on the First Fleet’s Lady Penrhyn; a ship notoriously described as containing the most “Abandon’d Prostitutes.” The story then takes us all the way to “There and Nowhere” – the middle of nowhere that ended up right in the middle of the action during the Castle Hill convict uprising of 1804. Ultimately, There and Nowhere was renamed Kellyville, in honour of Mary’s convict servant and second husband Hugh Kelly, making this formerly not-so-ladylike Lady of the Penrhyn, the First Lady of Kellyville. more>>


Multimedia

 


Sources


Lists

# First Fleet

# Convict

# Trial Place: Old Bailey

# Ship: Lady Penrhyn (1788)

# Ship: Rolla (1803)

# Burial year: 1820

# Grave: marked